In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.
To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.
Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.
Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.
Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.
Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.
Their only target: Annabelle.
I have high expectations when I see Rita Stradling’s name on a book because of what she has produced before – I know she has great talent and can hit those high notes other’s try but fail to achieve.
This had a different feel than what I’ve read from her before. It has a much slower build up so you have to be patient and rather than get all the foundational history, world construct, etc at the beginning she releases it slowly like her plot throughout the book. Basically just go in knowing this will be a marathon and not a sprint.
I thought her devices of using gods and magic made for an interesting tale as she took something that’s been done repeatedly (thanks to Rowling creating this magic frenzy and Riordan making everyone want to know about the gods) and made it her own with unique characters and a vivid story.
Fair warning this is not told in one POV which I know seems to send some people over the edge but Stradling manages to handle that very well so you become engaged with the characters and get a fuller sense of what is happening and why. She creates some diverse people that balance each other’s different personalities well so you shouldn’t have time to become irritated by the changing POV. I also appreciated that she created minor characters that had a fulfilling part in the story, helped it move along and didn’t feel like filler.
My only somewhat negative feeling towards the book is I hope more will be released to extend the story because I felt like this one ended with a lot hanging that didn’t get tied up; granted quite a few of my questions did get answered by the end. I’m hoping Tony’s story gets explored more in the future and if a romance is in the cards for some others. It just didn’t have the same feel as her previous stand-alone books I’ve read so I’m hoping this time she’s doing a series and that’s why it feels a bit open ended.
It is one that younger teens on the spectrum could read as there wasn’t anything in there that would give a parent too much cause for concern. Plus you get a strong female character who stands against the seemingly too powerful to mess with kind of thing; like a magical version of David vs Goliath J
Thank you to Netgalley and Rita Stradling for allowing me to review this book.
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*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com